The 119th US Open on Pebble Beach has the classic feel of Tiger Woods returning to the scene of a distinctive triumph to take on a new generation of stars, led by dual defending champion Brooks Koepka.
Koepka, 29, has a chance to do what only one golfer has done for him: he wins a third consecutive US Open title.
It is more than 100 years since Willie Anderson accomplished this achievement and Koepka says there is no better place to chase history than Pebble Beach, where five previous editions have produced lasting great championship memories.
"It's just such a special place," Koepka said of the beautiful course along the Pacific coast. "Just the history behind it, you look at the guys who won here at Pebble, some of the best players who ever played the game." Jack Nicklaus won the first US Open in 1972 at Pebble Beach. Ten years later it was Tom Watson and in 1992 Tom Kite.
Woods triumphed in 2000 by a smashing 15 strokes – still an important championship record – and Graeme McDowell ended Europe & # 39; s 40-year-old US Open drought when he was the last man with a classic US Open total of even par 284 in 2010. Koepka knows that history is against his bid for a high party.
"I know that the odds are likely to go even more against me now to go three in a row than to back it up," Koepka said, noting that "it's hard to go to the same event three times in a row to win." The last player to win the same big three years in a row was Peter Thomson at the British Open of 1954-56.
The last player to win a PGA Tour event for three consecutive years was Steve Stricker from the John Deere Classic in 2009, & # 39; 10 and & # 39; 11.
Woods won the same tournament at least three consecutive years six times in five tournaments, so it's no wonder he returns to Pebble 19 years after his 2000 triumph in the title mix.
After cementing his return from the wilderness of wounds with his 15th Masters title, Woods says he tends "in the right direction."
The same can be said of triple big winner Jordan Spieth, who struggled with 11 straight finishes outside the top 10 to start the season, but has placed three straight-top 10 & # 39; s in the third big of the season.
Dustin Johnson, who sent Koepka late for second place behind the American in the PGA Championship last month, is also one of the participants and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy arrives on an offensive seven-stroke win at the Canadian Open.
Five-time big winner Phil Mickelson, who turns 49 on Sunday, thinks Pebble Beach offers one of his last legitimate chances to finally conquer the US Open – the only major that escapes him, while American Rickie Fowler once again returns his current & # 39; best & # 39; tries to shed. player to never win an important "label.
Koepka believes that the real threat of a historic triplicate comes down to "about a handful of boys".
"That's exactly how I look at it, how I look at every tournament, every major," he said.
NOTHING LIKE IT
Of course, Pebble Beach, mating -71 and 7,075 yards, will have something to say.
"There's nothing like playing a US Open set on Pebble Beach," Woods said. "The golf course is not overly long. It's not big in that respect, but man, it's tricky.
"The greens are all oblique, very small goals," he said, pointing out that staying under the hole would be crucial on the greens with a tendency to bump.
As the course dried out, McDowell said he expected to see something other than the good-natured face that Pebble presented during early practice rounds.
"You just know it's not going to be like Friday, come Saturday this week," McDowell said. "And it looks like they have the golf course exactly where they want it now – and that's exciting.
. (tagsToTranslate) Brooks Koepka (t) golf (t) Pebble beach (t) Tiger Woods (t) US Open 2019